Tuesday, May 26, 2015

National Better Speech & Hearing Month: Early Intervention

Early intervention services during the first three years can make a big difference in a child’s life. In honor of National Better Speech and Hearing Month (May), DEL would like to highlight the various programs and resources Washington has for families with young children in need of speech and hearing assistance.

DEL supports early intervention services as they are designed to enable young children to be active and successful participants during the early childhood years and in the future in a variety of settings:
  • in their homes,
  • in child care,
  • in preschool or school programs,
  • and in their communities.

DEL’s Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) program supports families with information and skills to ensure they are supported as the most critical influence on their child’s early learning and development.

Early intervention services may include but are not limited to:
·         specialized instruction,
·         speech therapy,
·         occupational therapy,
·         or physical therapy.

If babies have hearing loss, it is important to find out as soon as possible so that they can receive the proper developmental and communications support.

According to the Washington Department of Health, undetected hearing loss can lead to delays in speech and language development, social development and difficulties learning. The Early Hearing-loss Detection, Diagnosis and Intervention (EHDDI) Program follows the 1-3-6 goals, to ensure that infants in Washington are:

1 – Screened for hearing loss before hospital discharge or by one month of age
3 – Have a diagnostic hearing evaluation by an audiologist by three months of age (if the infant did not pass two screens)
6 – Enrolled in early intervention by six months of age (if a hearing loss was found)

For more information about early hearing loss from the Washington State Department of Health, click here.

The Family Health Hotline is a good place to start to find out whether your child is eligible for early intervention services. Call 1.800.322.2588 (TTY 1.800.833.6384) to be connected with a family resources coordinator in your area. The FRC will help you access early intervention services your child may need. For more information about who is eligible for services in Washington, click here.

You can also reference the following web resources if information is needed or when there are concerns a about a child’s hearing, speech/language, or overall development:

·         Washington State Hands & Voices

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